National Study Ranks Sentara Norfolk General's Cardiac Program among top in U.S.
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National Study Ranks Sentara Norfolk General's Cardiac Program among top in U.S. 

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Sentara Norfolk General Hospital received the highest possible rating—five-star—for clinical quality and performance excellence for its heart program, placing it No. 1 in Virginia for Overall Cardiac Services, Medical Cardiology and Cardiac Interventional Procedures. According to the 2005 study released today by HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare quality company, the program has been ranked among the top 5% in the country for overall cardiac services three years in a row.

"We are honored to be recognized among the nation’s finest heart programs for clinical excellence by HealthGrades" said Rodney F. Hochman, M.D., Executive Vice President Sentara Healthcare. "Top ratings from an independent, national source demonstrate the commitment to quality care that our physicians, nurses and staff deliver to the patients and families in our community every day."

As part of its seventh annual Hospital Quality in America Study, HealthGrades independently analyzed nearly 5,000 hospitals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for its 2005 ratings, objectively assessing their clinical outcomes, performance and quality. The HealthGrades ratings measure whether patient outcomes for each of more than two dozen procedures are better than expected (5-Star), as expected (3-Star) or worse than expected (1-Star). Earning a 5-Star designation indicates that a hospital has scored in the Top 15% or better in the nation for clinical quality.

"HealthGrades objectively assesses and rates hospital performance in order to help consumers make better and more informed healthcare choices," explained Sarah Loughran, HealthGrades executive vice president. "With consumers having a greater stake in their healthcare purchasing decisions, it’s important for them to know that there is a tremendous difference in clinical quality outcomes between hospitals.

"In Hampton Roads, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital stands out notably in terms of delivering quality care for its heart patients," Loughran added. "Patients, families and employers truly have access to heart care close to home among the best in the nation."

The 2005 HealthGrades ratings for all hospitals nationwide are available, free of charge, on the web at www.healthgrades.com. More than one million unique users and 125 major employers visit the HealthGrades web site every month to access quality information about hospitals, nursing homes and physicians. HealthGrades also provides consumers and payers with detailed assessments of hospitals’ patient safety outcomes, based on indicators developed by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

About HealthGrades
Health Grades, Inc. (OTCBB: HGRD) is the leading independent healthcare quality company, providing ratings, information, and advisory services to healthcare providers, employers, health plans, and insurance companies.

HealthGrades works with healthcare providers to help assess, improve and promote their quality. HealthGrades provides consumers access to information about the clinical quality and patient safety outcomes of healthcare providers and practitioners through its Web site and provides liability insurers, employers, and payers with critical information about healthcare quality and safety.

Heart Care at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
Since the cardiac program’s inception at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in 1967, clinicians and doctors have performed nearly 32,900 open-heart surgeries, more than 100,000 interventional procedures, and over 220heart transplants. Sentara Norfolk General Hospital became the first Hampton Roads hospital to implant a drug-eluting stent in 2003 using the latest in interventional cardiology devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Earlier this year, Sentara broke ground on a state-of-the art, digital heart hospital to be known as Sentara Heart Hospital. Most recently, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s heart program ranked 40th out of 50 U.S. hospitals named for cardiac care excellence in the U.S. News & World Report 2004 study. Sentara continues to make a significant commitment to research, providing its patients the latest treatment options.

HealthGrades Frequently Asked Questions

What is HealthGrades?

Health Grades, Inc. is an independent healthcare information and advisory services company based in Lakewood, Colo. The company’s core business is to provide accurate and objective comparison ratings of healthcare providers, based solely on the quality of clinical outcomes.

How Are Healthcare Providers Rated By HealthGrades?

HealthGrades independently and objectively analyzes and rates more than 5,000 hospitals according to specialty (cardiac surgery, cardiology, orthopedic surgery, neurosciences, pulmonary/respiratory, vascular surgery, obstetrics, Women’s Health and other procedures).

Data on the clinical quality of providers is obtained from more than 75 independent public and private sources, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, state medical boards and state departments of health or public health.

HealthGrades analyzes the healthcare provider data, and subsequently rates the clinical quality of providers, using detailed methodologies and statistical models developed by national experts. The HealthGrades models and methodologies are open and transparent – workshops are held at the company’s Lakewood office each quarter to share the details with healthcare leaders. Our methodology white paper is also available on the web at www.healthgrades.com.

Can Hospitals Pay HealthGrades for Good Ratings or Purchase Better Ratings?

NO. All providers are rated by HealthGrades based on the exact same data (which anyone can obtain) and methodology. Providers cannot "purchase" or "pay for" a positive HealthGrades rating; nor can providers pay to have substandard ratings changed.

HealthGrades has consulted with nearly 300 hospitals nationwide to help them market positive ratings; and to assess, understand and improve the quality of their clinical outcomes. However, the hospital ratings are developed independently and outside the consulting process.

Where is HealthGrades Information Available?

Ratings of all hospitals and nursing homes, along with information on approximately 650,000 physicians, are available at the HealthGrades Web site.  The hospital and nursing home ratings are free to consumers. Detailed physician reports are available to consumers for a nominal fee.

HealthGrades also provides detailed quality information to approximately 125 major companies in the US, serving more than 18 million employees.



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